Writing standards for elementary schools vary from state to state, but developing these required skills should never be boring. Here are three picture books that I recommend for primary students and advanced preschoolers. Enjoy!
This first one addresses the perils of story-telling by putting a new spin on an old tale:
Little Red Writing by Joan Holub
Illustrations by Melissa Sweet
Acclaimed writer Joan Holub and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet team up in this hilarious and exuberant retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which a brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000)... and saves the day.
Joan Holub has hundreds of pencils. Some are red. Others are glittery, sporty, or full of holiday cheer. They are all super sharp and good at writing books. They’ve helped Joan write more than 130 books, including Zero the Hero and Knuckleheads. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor–winning River of Words and the Sibert Medal–winning Balloons Over Broadway. When not in her studio, Melissa loves to ride her bicycle and hike with her two dogs, Rufus and Nellie. She lives in Rockport, Maine.
(Click here for a guide aligned to Common Core.)
I see a "Little Red Writing" center in our near future. My grandson would love that!
This second picture book shows children how to stretch their imaginations:
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter
Illustrations by Kyrsten Brooker
Eva, a would-be writer, sits on her New York City stoop with her notebook, waiting for something to happen. She has been given a homework assignment to record goings-on in her Manhattan neighborhood. Each neighbor who passes offers her useless writing tips, but it isn't until Eva takes matters into her own hands that exciting things begin to happen in her neighborhood — enough to make a great story! A hilarious sequence of happenings ensues and Eva learns that you can find inspiration for writing anywhere if you observe carefully enough.
(Click here for Scholastic's Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street lesson plan.)
I've certainly had my share of writer's block in the past, so I know how intimidating those blank pages can be. A couple of years ago, I filled my journal with clippings of favorite writing quotes, business cards from people who have encouraged me over the years, and an assortment of handmade items:
I think kids would enjoy personalizing their journals too. If you tackle this project at home or in the classroom, don't forget to add colorful endpapers. I made mine out of leftover scrapbook prints. Construction paper would be fine, though.
I discovered this last picture book at the library, which is pretty funny considering the title and plot:
Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk
Celebrated writer and illustrator Daniel Kirk brings to life the joys of reading, writing, and sharing in this all-new Library Mouse adventure. Sam the library mouse loves to write, and the children love his little books, which he leaves on the library shelves for them to find. But no one at the library has ever met him. When Tom can’t find a partner for a book-making assignment and finds Sam’s secret hole behind the children’s reference section, will the pair be able to work together, or will Sam’s secret identity be spoiled forever? A heartwarming tale about collaboration and creative ambitions, this book will enchant any young aspiring author or illustrator.
(Click here for the teacher guide.)
The simple text is perfect for an advanced preschooler. My grandson will be here tomorrow, and we are going to make a set of mouse ears and collaborate on a story:
I can't wait to see what develops. I'm sure it will have a happy ending! =)